Bryce Harper Gets His Deal
It may have taken the entire offseason, and even part of spring training, but Bryce Harper finally found his deal. Not only did he find his deal, but it is the largest contract in MLB history at 13 years and $330 million. The lucky suitor is the Philadelphia Phillies, who after their acquisitions of Harper, J.T. Realmuto, Jean Segura, Andrew McCutchen, and reliever David Robertson, have had quite the offseason. Within his contract, Harper gets a full no-trade clause, but somewhat surprisingly does not have any opt-outs tied to it, meaning that he will play out his contract in full. Unlike other mega-deals of late, Harper’s is actually frontloaded, with him making $30 million this year ($10 million salary with a $20 million signing bonus), $26 million from 2020-2028 and $22 million from 2029-2031. The deal will keep Harper tied up through his age-38 season.
Trout Remains Low-Key On Future
With Bryce Harper now having the richest free agent deal in the books, all eyes are turning to arguably the best player in the game, Mike Trout. Even though Trout is not a free agent until after the 2020 season, there has already been a lot of speculation on not only what his contract will be, but where he will end up. Trying to get out in front of it, Ken Rosenthal has reported that the Angels are considering offering Trout a record-breaking 10-year, $350 million contract. If he were to agree to a contract of that length, it would keep Trout in an Angels uniform through his age-38 season. Despite the fact that it would set records not only for contract amount and average annual value, it is unclear as to whether Trout would want more or not. Even more so, it is unclear if Trout wants to remain with the Angels long-term. There is a lot of speculation that a teaming of Trout and Harper in Philadelphia could be in the works, but that remains to be seen. For now, Trout is content playing out the two years and $66 million left on his contract and will likely remain the game’s best player.
Nolan Arenado Avoids Free Agency Headache
After seeing how the offseason transpired for both Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, it has some players considering extensions so that they don’t have to go through the same thing. With that in mind, Nolan Arenado, who was expected to be the crown jewel of next offseason’s free agent market, has decided to stay in Colorado long-term. Arenado agreed to an 8-year, $234 million extension. His contract does have an opt-out in it after year three, which would mean that he could test the free agent market in 2021 (he will be 31 at that time). His contract also has a full no-trade clause in it. Arenado has been a wizard on both sides of the field. Defensively, he has won a Gold Glove every season he has been in the majors. Last year, on offense, Arenado hit .297/.374/.561 with 38 home runs, 110 runs batted in and 104 runs scored. According to Baseball-Reference, he had a 5.6 WAR (wins above replacement).
Blue Jays Sign A Couple Of Pitchers
Over the last few days, the Toronto Blue Jays have made a couple under the radar signings of a couple of quality pitchers. First, they signed reliever Bud Norris to a minor league deal. If he makes the roster, Norris would earn $3 million with a possibility for more in incentives. If he doesn’t make the roster, he has an opt-out clause set for March 21st. Last year, with the St. Louis Cardinals, Norris served as their primary closer, going 3-6 with 28 saves over 64 games. He had a 3.59 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, and 67 strikeouts in 57.2 innings.
Their other signing is starting pitcher Clay Buchholz. They have also signed him for $3 million with incentives that could boost that amount higher. After bouncing around early in the season last year, the Arizona Diamondbacks picked him up where he was fantastic. With Arizona, he went 7-2 with a 2.01 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP. He had 81 strikeouts in 98.1 innings. While health has always been an issue for Buchholz, he has certainly been a quality pitcher when he can stay on the mound through his career.
Salvador Perez Has UCL Damage
It looks like one of the best catchers in the game may be missing the 2019 season. Jon Heyman of MLB Network has reported that the Kansas City Royal’s star catcher, Salvador Perez, has damage to his UCL and that Tommy John surgery has been recommended for him. Perez is expected to have the procedure done this week meaning that he will likely not return to the field until 2020. While the Royals were not expected to compete in the AL Central this year, this is still a big blow for the franchise. Last season, Perez had a bit of a down year hitting .235/.274/.439, but he still managed to hit 27 home runs and drive in 80.
In addition to the big signings this last week, a couple of other free agents have been scooped up by teams. The St. Louis Cardinals signed catcher Matt Wieters to presumably compete for the backup spot to Yadier Molina. If he does make the team, he would earn $1.5 million. Last year, with the Washington Nationals, Wieters hit .238/.330/.374 with 8 home runs and 30 runs batted in and 24 runs in 235 at-bats.
Also, Adam Warren has signed with the San Diego Padres. Warren’s deal is a one year, $2.5 million contract with a club option. Last year, between time with the Yankees and Mariners, Warren was 3-2 with a 3.14 ERA and 1.31 WHIP. He had 52 strikeouts in 51.2 innings.
Aside from these signings, there are still plenty of quality major leaguers still looking for jobs, including Dallas Keuchel, Craig Kimbrel, Adam Jones, Carlos Gonzalez, and others.